Rushmere ‘bucking the trend’

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Rushmere Shopping Centre said it is bucking the retail and consumer trend across other parts of the UK and Northern Ireland after its visit numbers rose by more than five per cent in the last year.

Rushmere says its footfall is up 5.2 per cent in the year to May 30 compared with the same period the year before. This is the 10th consecutive monthly year on year increase for the shopping mall.

Recent data published by Experian indicates that retail footfall levels have declined 1.4 per cent in Northern Ireland for the same period; while average shopper numbers across the UK, including Northern Ireland, are down 4.2 per cent year to date.

The 28-acre centre and retail park, which celebrates its 37th anniversary this year, has proved an unprecedented success since its opening in 1976 with visitors attracted from across Northern Ireland and beyond for its strong mix of high street brands, and anchor tenants Debenhams and Sainsbury’s.

Martin Walsh, Rushmere Shopping Centre Manager, said, “Despite the disappointing retail backdrop elsewhere in the UK and Ireland, thanks to our strategically-important location, a strong, varied retail offer that can satisfy the needs of a wide range of budgets and our solid commitment to growth,

“Rushmere continues to perform exceptionally well and we are particularly delighted this year that our visitor numbers are supported by a similar increase in sales at the tills.”

Sales at department store Debenhams are up three per cent for the year to May 30, while those registered at Monsoon / Accessorize are up by eight per cent.

Retailers are also investing heavily in the appearance of their own stores at Rushmere, with shoe retailer Clarks recently spending more than £500,000 on a substantial re-fit which included the installation of innovative new technology that allows customers to book appointments for fittings online. The Clarks store at Rushmere is now a ‘hub’ store and training academy for the entire region.

Coffee retailer Starbucks also recently unveiled its new look and increased capacity at its Rushmere branch, while retailer Yankee Candle has just recently moved to a bigger unit.

“By providing units of the size and scale that meets the needs of modern retailers, and by working hard to provide visitors with a strong choice, we have been successful in achieving sustainable growth which secures and increases jobs and which ultimately results in greater local and regional economic benefits.”